How many times have you screamed that sentence? I know I have on many many shopping trips, as has my mother, friends, sisters, boyfriend, member of the public in a changing room (I’ve heard them all!).
And how annoyed do you get when you hold a piece of clothing up to your body, nod in a this-will-definitely-fit-me kind of way only to find, in fact, it doesn’t? You do the obligatory jig up and down to try and get your feet then thighs in, probably fall over whilst trying, wriggle and squirm in the hope that the top goes over your middle, only to find you’re staring at what looks like Matt Lucas’ character Daffyd, ‘the only gay in the village’.
The zip is too tight, the buttons are strained to their absolute limit, the Lycra-ish fabric clings to every lump and bump. You open the door of the fitting room, gingerly, and wait for the disapproving shake of the head from your friend/sister/mother/other shoppers. I empathise, I really do.
But, lovely reader, I have come to the conclusion, after lots of thought, that we are not to blame. The fashion brands are.
Hear me out.
All fashion houses have an ideal customer in mind when designing. It’s as important for them as, say, a PR campaign. I’m sure it must be amazing for a designer to see their clothes on someone unexpected too, or to know that they are selling in countries/stores they never thought they would. BUT if you’re expecting to sell internationally, shouldn’t the sizes reflect this too?
Men and women in France or Spain are NOT made the same as they are in the UK or USA. Over here, we are generally bigger. I don’t mean fatter, I mean taller, broader… just bigger. Our teeny tiny European counterparts shouldn’t be the size guideline for full collections. It means we can’t always fit into them.
I quite fancy myself as a Carven or Kenzo or even Zara man, but alas that obligatory jig I spoke of earlier is all I can manage when trying on their clothes. Carven haven’t quite realised we aren’t all 5foot 5, Kenzo’s XLs are the equivalent of a child’s 10-11year-old size and Zara… well let’s just say it’s lucky they do a good bag. A passionate abstinence is all I can expect to have with these wonderful brands.
I don’t really know what the answer to this is though. It’s tricky. Do all designers need to think about doing a plus size range? But this insinuates we’re too fat to fit in to the clothes when most of the time it’s not the case. Or do they need to make stock in other sizes depending on where they sell to? But this sounds expensive. Or do I just need to suck it up, have my legs chopped down, have (more) lip suction… or just not wear the brands full stop?
Having been 21stone and a 46inch waist when I was 18, to now being (insert number)stone and a 34inch waist, I can thankfully fit into my favourite designers: Vivienne Westwood, Givenchy, Versace, and most of the high street shops too. It would just be nice to be able to wear a Kenzo XL that really was an XL, not a feeble excuse for a size.
It was Nathan Lane’s character, Albert, from The Birdcage that said: “I’ve yo-yoed from a 16 to a 10 to a 16, and you’ve never said a word– not one hint of encouragement, not one scrap of validation”. This is kind of how I feel with some designers.
Will it ever fit?????